It probably depends on who you ask, but everyone we have asked (and we have asked several of our past couples and here is a write-up one of our past couples did about the experience of having a first look) has said that doing a first look did not take anything away from the ceremony at all. We also did a first look at our wedding, so we speak from personal experience when we say that doing a first look is a whole different experience than seeing each other as you walk down the aisle.
With a growing business and two infants at home there isn't a lot we have time for but volunteering is dear to our hearts. Thats why we volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Along with this gift, I love serving families of Rainbow babies, and have done a story about my work with WFFA. To see the story, you may click here.
If you are shooting under a large tree you shouldn't be getting dark eyes. I look for exactly that type of location to put people under a large branch. When you block the overhead light it IS darker for sure but the direction of light changes to coming from the front instead of overhead, so you don't get dark eyes. You may just need more exposure overall but the quality of light should be there.
Natalie Roberson is a photographic artist specializing in newborn, family, children and wedding photography. Natalie graduated from Southwest Texas State University in December 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with Minors in Business and Spanish. In May of 2004 Natalie graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s in Business Administration degree. Natalie studied Photography and Graphic Design at Collin College in Plano, Texas.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
The formality of the occasion will generally dictate how smart or relaxed you can be with your clothing choice. Say for example the couple are getting married on a beach in Hawaii, the groom is wearing shorts and sandals, you would look pretty out of place in a three-piece suit. There isn’t really a perfect answer for what to wear at a wedding. However, generally speaking, if you keep your outfit quite smart with fairly neutral colours you shouldn’t attract too many complaints. Most of all you should make sure you are comfy and can manoeuvre your body. It is a long day so you don’t want to be restricted by overly formal clothes.
Wedding package three: $2,600: Includes up to 8 hours of wedding photography and all the services of wedding package two; one hour of private portraits after the ceremony; up to 30 edited images for printing; and two 16x20 canvas gallery wrapped prints. Add-on options: Second (intermediate level) photographer for $300; two-hour, two-location engagement photo shoot with 15 edited pictures for $400; photo booth at reception with digital download for $300; and first family Christmas card photo shoot session for $300.

Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.
“I was definitely a little nervous going into the shoot – I wanted the photos to feel natural and not come off as too “staged.” Kate made us all feel totally at ease! As soon as I met her I knew it was going to be a great experience. It was clear she is a pro – she could not have a more perfect personality for family photography! I cried the first time I saw our photos, and I will truly treasure them forever.”

*Staging Is Okay*While it’s not good to pose people, it can help to stage a shot. Know, for example, where the best light in your home is, and coax your subjects into it. If possible, declutter those spots beforehand. Sue Barr, a pro based just outside of New York City (www.suebarr.com), recommends semistaging a shot using wardrobe. “Try to dress everyone in similar tones—it will visually unify the group and makes exposure easier, too. Not too matchy, though.”(Above Photo) For this after-dark shot of his child, Teddy Madison mimicked daylight by placing his strobe out on the lawn.Teddy Madison
Side note:  In preparing to write this post, I looked up some articles written for photographers about how to make your website stand out.  Many of them said the opposite of what I said here: that I should display ONLY my best work- quality over quantity.   From a photographer’s perspective of getting you in the door and making the sale, sure.  But from a potential client’s perspective, I don’t feel that it would benefit you to see only my best work!
Step away from your point-and-shoot and ask yourself this: Are the 200 photos you took on your baby's first birthday sitting in the same desktop folder as shots from the neighborhood block party -- from, ahem, three years ago? Have you broken countless promises to your in-laws to share last year's family vacation pics? Did the most recent photo you printed out come from your college graduation (a picture that's now collecting dust in the attic)?
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!

The photographer at Barefeet Photography and Design has more than five years of photography experience. The photography studio, based in Richardson, photographs newborns, children, seniors, and weddings. The business also runs photography workshops for parents who want to learn how to photograph their kids. Clients have praised the photographer for her ability to make her clients feel comfortable in front of the camera.


It's hard to beat the rich colors of fall. Throw in crisp air that won't mess up your hair or makeup and it's no wonder this temperate season is so popular for engagement photo shoots (not to mention weddings). Since temperatures begin to dip in fall, longer sleeves, layers and knits are a must. If you're taking photos outdoors, try to pick a color palette that works with your surroundings. Rich oranges, reds and browns all work for this season, especially if you're in a region where the leaves change color. Check out our favorite fall engagement photo outfits below.
Thank you very much for the tips. My son is 9 months old and I have took thousands of pictures but I never satisfied with the end result. We had to use professional photography when he was new born. It was very expensive. He is very chubby, charming and beautiful boy but it does not justify in the pictures. Now I have learnt few tricks thanks to you I will definitely try it once and I will let you know. I have bought one of the fancy expensive camera but I have no idea how to get the good result.
Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once. 

A summertime family photo shoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.

Because one of our best tips is to shoot in RAW we advise getting fast memory cards. RAW files are big and there is lots of data to store on your memory card. You should be looking at the ‘write’ speed measured in MB/s. BEWARE! The speed listed on the card is the transfer speed (the speed in which it transfers the files to your computer). Whilst it can be good to have a fast transfer speed what you want is good write speed. 95MB/s is a good write speed and should easily handle a continuous burst of RAW photos.


In 2008 Natalie began doing freelance photography for several clients who requested her services. This ultimately led her to formally create Natalie Roberson Photography, LLC. Natalie has traveled all over the United States and internationally documenting people’s lives. Natalie and her assistants use high-resolution Nikon digital cameras and lens to capture their photographic images. All photographs are enhanced by using Adobe Photoshop software.
LIFESTYLE PHOTOS: this category may have other names, such as candid, natural, etc. They can be done in almost any environment and can be more or less directed (sometimes it is difficult to say if the situation was real or not). They seem unposed, unplanned, and often focusing on true connections and feelings. It is in the middle between the portrait photos and the documentary photos (next category).
I set up our family shots with my DSLR on a tripod and then I used a 10-second timer to take the photos!  I also set my camera to take three photos in a row.  So I had 10 seconds to run into place, fix my clothes and hair and smile at the camera!  All the while my kiddos yelled, “run mommy run!” Believe me, we got some genuine smiles and laughter from them watching mommy run and act like a crazy person!
Newborn photography can come with many surprises, especially if you aren’t a parent.  I’ve compiled a list of newborn photography tips that have helped me tremendously and I am sure will be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about newborn photography.  Of course, every photographer will have a different way or style of doing things but these are just some of the top things I’ve learned through the years as a newborn photographer.
So many maternity sessions are done in studio. I understand the reasons behind this. I’ve been pregnant. 3 times over. I’m not the petite and pretty pregnant. I’m the gal you find wedged between the double doors at The Sizzler. Studio shoots are great because there’s privacy. I can’t argue with that. Particularly if you’re going to do anything in less than a fully clothed state (that’s my PC way of saying naked). But there’s something about being outside. Taking that natural beauty of a woman who’s ready to bring new life into the world and placing her in the majesty of the great outdoors is simply breathtaking.
While we love our wedding photos, this painting is even more special because we will be able to hang it in our house forever and look at it every day, where our wedding photos are in an album and we may not look at those that often, but the painting will be there every day for us to see and enjoy

While the quality can vary from location to location, CVS is perhaps the most consistent. Printing at the chain’s Kodak kiosks is quick for consumers who just can’t wait a few days for an online order. Ordering is also fairly simple, though photo printing kiosks aren’t without glitches. Photo quality won’t match up to professional printers, but CVS appears to have the fewest complaints for inaccurate colors and fuzzy images. Expect to pay 33 cents for one print — you can get better results for a slightly lower price at our picks for the best professional photo labs, below, if you’re willing to wait (and pay to ship). Note: You can also send prints to CVS from your smartphone via the CVS or Snapfish apps.
You want your images to be in focus. Who wants blurry images? I don’t! You want to have images that are sharp and in focus. These will look great when you blow them up and hang them on your walls. If you are viewing their work on Facebook, go to their website. Facebook can do funky things to images, but you’ll be able to view better quality on their website and/or blog.
Portrait photography provides parents with lasting images of the first whirlwind months of a newborn’s life. The cost varies based on several factors, including the length and location of the session, the number of photos provided, and the amount of editing and retouching the photographer does. The national average cost for baby photos is $150-$200. Some baby photographers charge by the number of photos provided, typically ranging from an average of $299 for 20 high-resolution edited photos, to an average of $399 for 35 photos, to $499 for all of the images taken in a single session. Props and location affect the cost, too; an elaborate studio shoot with props and professional lighting may increase the cost to $600-$700 for 20-50 photos. Adding a second location or asking the photographer to travel can add $70-$250 to the cost of the session. Photographers may also charge extra fees for providing additional photos and DVDs, scheduling weekend sessions, and shooting siblings. Expect to pay at least a $50 deposit when you book a portrait photography session.
I like getting digital images. We live in a digital age, and it is easy and fun to share pictures with others when you have the rights to the digital images from your photo shoot. I like having the digital images so I can use the photos on Christmas cards that I order and “print” myself (a portrait studio can print the cards with multiple images for you otherwise, but usually at a higher cost than can be found online).
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Everything you've heard is true: Your wedding day comes and goes so quickly. That's why preparation is key. Once you nail down your photographer (do this 9-11 months in advance!),  it's time to start thinking about your shot list. While your photographer will guide you on the moments they plan on capturing, it's important to know exactly what you want too. After all, you'll want to keep these memories intact with the perfect photo album. Get ready for your close up by taking a look at these pretty picture ideas you might want to include.
Whether you are all playing outside in the falling leaves, posing by the cozy fireplace or walking along the beach, you are the ones who will make the photo unique. We know that it sometimes takes the inspiration from others to get your creative juices flowing, so we have put together a list of 80 photo family photo ideas. Sort through the filters to find the best fit for your family. Don’t forget to share your photos with friends and family—easily order prints from your desk or mobile phone. And for additional inspiration check out this article: family photo wall ideas.
See #1 first of all. Then look at #6. Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience. Sometimes you’ll get tough adults too. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. I’ve known this family and photographed them for 13 years, they’re friends too. So I know I can bug him a little bit or get out the ducky to have some fun at his expense.
Arrange the time for the makeup artist correctly. Talk to the hair and makeup artist and find out how long it will take for her/him to finish the job. Make sure to include everything in the timeline that you will share with the client. For example, if you are planning on meeting your client at the location at 5 PM, you will need to take into consideration how long it is going to take them to drive from the makeup artist’s place to the location. From there, subtract the duration of time the makeup artist needs and tell your clients to be there accordingly. Give about 15-20 minutes of slack time, so that you do not end up rushing everything. This is especially true for late afternoon/evening photo shoots.
Thank you very much for the tips. My son is 9 months old and I have took thousands of pictures but I never satisfied with the end result. We had to use professional photography when he was new born. It was very expensive. He is very chubby, charming and beautiful boy but it does not justify in the pictures. Now I have learnt few tricks thanks to you I will definitely try it once and I will let you know. I have bought one of the fancy expensive camera but I have no idea how to get the good result.
Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.
“Search no more! After our first inquiry, we had a phone date with Amber so we could get to know each other. She is easy to talk to & sooo happy! We were excited to move ahead. Planning a destination wedding blind is tough but Amber helped us and we kept in touch A LOT! It felt like she really cared about our day as much as we did. We met Amber for the very first time the day before our wedding. She is absolutely the cutest thing, super smiley & having never had professional pictures taken of us before - she made that so very easy on us. While we did have a storm roll in on our day—a hiccup that could easily ruin any brides big moment—it was easily quickly tempered with Amber's calm & cool approach. She made my husband feel confident and her mood set the tone & we had the most epic wedding day. After the storm, we were blessed with DOUBLE rainbow. Looking at Amber as we were basking in the after wedding love glow was a highlight. She was smiling from ear to ear, so incredibly happy to be doing what she loves with people who are in love. I can't express how much that meant to us. Having flown across the country, sight unseen, hiring a complete stranger to capture our most precious event we couldn't have been more confident we made the right choice. We were lucky enough to work with Amber & she was a big part of making our elopement the best day of our lives—she's an absolute gem. She got our photos to us quicker than the projected timeline. They are ridiculous good! Do yourself a favor & just hire them, you'll die from happiness. You're welcome!”
There are a lot of different ways a photographer can set up their business. They may charge a sitting fee (or a session fee), which includes the photographer’s time and talent, but no files or products. Or, they may offer the session and all the digital files for one, all-inclusive price. Some even offer several packages with different combinations of products and/or files. One is not better than another, you just have to make sure you’re happy with what they’re offering, and have a clear understanding of what to expect.
Consider the value of the photos. Price will no doubt be a factor in your decision, but try to think carefully about the value of these photos to you. It will be hard to value them quantitatively, as they are a record of the biggest day of your life, which you will always look back on. You will want a photographer that will capture the emotion of the day, as well as all the key moments.
Also, check if there's a second shooter included in the contract, and if there's not, ask about the possibility. It's likely the second shooter can be confirmed later on, but the main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you're having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.
Anyway, thanks for these tips… For a guy with boys of two, it’s pretty neat to read that I have been doing the right thing all this while… There’s no such thing as enough photos when it comes to self-triggered shots.. One thing that I have to seriously put into action is the “Make it An Event” part.. most often than not, we tend not to put priority on the group photos as we get busy planning the place to visits, transportations, FOOD!, etc. I will surely put this one in my checklist for our next family vacation…
Thank you!! I am not yet enrolled in photography classes, but at 32 if I hear one more person say “so why aren’t you a photographer?” I will cry. I love photography, just got my first SLR which I completely don’t understand yet, (aperture what??!?) but I will be learning. And since I am 7 months pregnant I was looking for some good tips in taking my own newborn photos, I appreciate you writing this! Very good info and depending how it goes, I may be pursuing a new career!
We love photographing newborn babies, so when a twin photo session happens, it is twice as nice!  Twice the snuggles, twice the piggies, and twice the love. It’s absolutely amazing to witness how a child’s personality develops right after birth and in the early days of life. Newborn twins are gifted with such distinctive personalities right away, and we love to capture those little differences. With newborn twins, we also make sure to take individual shots so that Mom and Dad can see all the tiny special details inherent in each baby.
Wonderful article! And congratulations on your 3rd pregnancy! I believe, above all else, emotion is the most important element of beautiful maternity photography. Whatever may or may not be in the background, a beautiful sunset, a window, a bedspread, whatever… the viewer always returns to the subject (consciously or subconsciously) to “confirm” the emotion in the shot. Your photographs all have a strong element of emotion in them. Beautiful work! Cheers, Rob
“look at photography, talk about photography, read about it, but mostly shoot, shoot, shoot. We found that also networking with other photographers can get you inspired, but the important thing is to not be just networking for the sake of networking, you should be really interested in the other person as well. Too often this exchange remains one-sided and so for one person, it’s not so much of worth to be staying in touch with you. We think it’s also important to shoot for yourself and not just for your client so you can find your own voice and with time the perfect clients for you will cross your way and you will shoot for yourself, but get paid by them.”
The 6fps shooting makes it a viable option for motion capture, if that is something you are into, as well — and the built-in stabilization allows you to take some pretty crispy shots — even with the jitters. We all know how it is when trying to shoot in a chilly bit of weather. Well, your shivers aren’t going to affect the image quality on this beast of a camera.
If you’re scared to get in peoples faces with your camera then you’ll be missing out on some great shots. At the same time, you need to be self-aware and not too obtrusive. Again it’s all about the situation. Don’t be up in the couples grill in the Ceremony, you’ll probably get kicked out by the Officiant. But on the dance floor or during the formals it’s much more appropriate to have a little more swagger and to be more noticeable.

If you have a dSLR and any lenses with wide aperture capabilities (like a 28-70 2.8 or even a 50 1.8) I’d recommend using one of those lenses and keeping your aperture open fairly wide, around 2.8. That will help to blur the background and make the photographs look a little more professional. If not, don’t sweat it – turning off your flash will force your camera to use the widest aperture it’s got (using the portrait setting will also help here). Your camera may have a harder time keeping the shutter speed high if it’s not very bright in your house, so consider using a tripod if you have one. Better equipment sometimes makes for better photos, but knowing how to use what you have is really more important. If you have a few months before your baby is born, spend a little time getting to know your camera. If you don’t have time to practice, following my tips will still help you improve your photos.


Thank you so much for sharing your advice! So what do you think - is it easier to pose people outside, with gorgeous backgrounds and the natural terrain/props to help you create interesting portraits, or is it easier in a studio? My business partner and I will be taking family portraits for a fundraiser (indoors, on-location) and it we will be using a backdrop. I much prefer taking photos outdoors because I feel it is easier to put people at ease and there is the option to change things up a little more. I am afraid these mini-session portraits will be boring. I'd love to hear some studio posing tips geared toward family photos if anyone is willing to share them.

Ask the bride and groom for just three words to describe their vision of the day, then keep those words in mind as you capture it! If they say “fun”, take every opportunity to “document” a fun moment. If they say “romantic”, keep lighting in mind and snap every sweet moment the newlyweds share that day/night. Yes, you are the photographer, but it is THEIR day. Make your art reflect that! (Thanks Matthew Michaels)

"We expect to see the photos in a few weeks and will update work quality comments at that time. This review is on his handling of the event. Tandy knows how to shoot weddings. He was punctual with his assistant. There was an initial conflict with the venue staff but it was quickly resolved when I intervened. We were pleased with his help during the ceremony and the reception. He can be a little abrupt but is easy to communicate and work with. He knows what it takes to get the pictures he needs to take. Most of the time we hardly knew he was around. We'll definitely keep him in mind for future events."

Indoor photography at a church, temple, or other private venue during the ceremony and reception. Outdoor photography (often at a park, beach, or scenic location on the day of the wedding and/or for engagement photos). Both posed and candid (photojournalistic) shots of the wedding couple and their guests at the religious or civil ceremony, and the reception that follows. Formal portraiture in the studio (for either the wedding and/or the engagement photos). Digital services, such as digital prints, slides shows and online galleries. Albums (either traditional matted albums or the more contemporary flush mount type of album).
Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you’re going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.
I did a research with mothers about their experience in hiring a photographer. One of the questions was about regrets and one of the top regret reasons was hiring a cheap photographer with bad quality pictures. I have more than 50 answers and not even one mentioned expensive service as a matter of regret. It doesn’t necessarily mean that more expensive photographers will always be better, but there is often a price/quality correlation. The tip I give you is: if you need to limit your budget, it’s better to choose a simpler product of the photographer you liked the most than a top package of a photographer that is only ok. After a while, you won’t remember how much you paid, but the beautiful photos (or not) will always be with you.
Natalie Roberson Photography is built of a husband and wife team based in Frisco. The photography studio, founded in 2008, photographs newborns, engagements, weddings, child portraits, corporate headshots, family portraits, maternity photos, and hospital photos. The studio's photobooth service lets guests take silly photos at special events. The business offers digital photos, color prints on luster paper, metal stand-outs, canvas gallery wraps, albums, mini accordion books, announcements, and custom flash drive cases.
We know you’re not models. Fear not! We keep things super laid back and will subtly direct you into poses that look natural and EPIC. We’re usually talking and laughing the whole time, unless we’re hundreds of yards away capturing that big wide shot, in which case we’re probably telling you how epic you look through a walkie talkie 😉 Our main goal is to have fun out there together, making some stunning images in the process.
I know many portrait & wedding photographers love to shoot wide open at f/1.2 & f/1.4.  However, with newborn photography, many of the baby poses can have extreme angles and you often will have better luck with your depth of field and sharpness by shooting around f/2 & f/2.2.  Remember, it will be rare that the baby’s eyes are on the same plane of focus all the time and by closing down my aperture a bit from wide open I get that little bit extra of depth of field that is often needed.
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
Fans – A fan can introduce some motion into your portrait (think wind-blown hair or clothes). But they can also make it comfortable to work in hot studios. Continuous studio lights and strobes with modelling light generate a fair amount of heat. A fan can help provide some comfort. (In a small photography studio, you may prefer to use small speed lights.)
Send out an email a day or two before their appointment with the time, date, and place of the session. Provide a checklist reminding them to make sure the kids are fed and they pack any essentials with them. Depending on the season, your checklist will change (e.g., knit hat reminders in winter and sunscreen and water in the summer). A family shoot will never go perfectly, but by making sure the family is prepared, you can maximize the likelihood that things will go as smoothly as possible.
With thirteen uncles and aunts on my dad's side, I have a very large extended family. I don't do family portraits often, but when I do, I've found that the best two techniques that work for me for ensuring everyone's looking in the same direction and are ready for the group shot is (1) telling them beforehand that if they can't see my camera's lens from their position in the group, then my camera is likely not going to see them either, so they need to find another position, and (2) I give them a "3-2-1" (or for larger groups, a "5-4-3-2-1") countdown before taking the shot. This usually results in me getting the shot I want pretty quickly, and I don't have to go through dozens of shots to find one where everyone is actually ready for their picture to be taken.
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